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A New Narrative for Psychology$
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Brian Schiff

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199332182

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199332182.001.0001

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Out of the Head

Out of the Head

Chapter:
(p.23) Chapter 2 Out of the Head
Source:
A New Narrative for Psychology
Author(s):

Brian Schiff

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780199332182.003.0003

Chapter 2, “Out of the Head,” in A New Narrative for Psychology argues that psychology’s conceptual problem becomes even more acute when one considers conclusions drawn about the relationship between variables. Interpreting the statistical relationship between two or more variables, researchers commit a serious error; they misinterpret correlations derived from group data as an indication of what must be happening inside persons. Only an approach that allows one to get close enough to persons, to observe how they tell and interpret their experience, can allow one to understand how subjectivity operates. Psychologists need to observe the phenomenon in order to argue that they really know how it works. But observations made in variable-centered research cannot extend to this level of analysis, and researchers must speculate about what must be happening inside persons. Examples from research on personality development and contact theory are examined in order to make this point.

Keywords:   method, research, variable-centered research, narrative, personality, psychology, contact theory

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